It can seem like the world of the Internet is always changing at rapid speed, and search engine optimization is no exception to this. Will 2019 bring a whole host of changes to marketers’ SEO strategies or are fundamentals likely to stay the same?
We asked a range of SEO experts and specialists to weight in on the most likely SEO trends of the coming year.
1."We'll see a continuing decline of clicks Google sends out to organic results, while paid stays relatively flat. Probably ~15 organic clicks for every 1 paid click.
2. Google's going to break into a few more new verticals like they have with lyrics, air travel, sports games, etc. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few B2B sectors get hit.
3. Google's going to spend heavily on lobbying and on campaigns to help inoculate themselves from the coming tide of monopoly regulation. It'll probably work in the US, but less likely to work in the EU (where it's harder to legally bribe officials)."
"I'm not a fan of giving predictions. But one thing that I can say for sure is that the fundamentals of SEO won't change in the next 12 months.
Keep studying what people are searching for.
Keep creating the best-in-class resources to answer those searches.
Keep generating quality backlinks to these resources.
And I'm sure you'll be fine.
As for how Google search results pages will look in a year from now. Or what other new things (like AMP or schema) they're going to bring to the table – that we'll see."
1. "Hybrid campaigns with paid marketing are going to increase in importance as organic impressions continue to become more secondary in the eyes of companies that control a majority of the traffic.
2. Voice search increases in use and search engines will become more adept at serving proper documents for hyper-specific queries. The burden is just as much on them as on content creators. Create content with the entire customer journey in mind you will be ahead of the competition.
3. Personalized search will step up a notch as proximity, past purchases, and behavior, etc. continue to influence your online search and continue to confuse people correlating sales with traffic and ranking data."
"There are some easy and safe answers I can take with this, but I'll push my answers a little out of the proverbial boundaries.
Google will push their AMP project more, and a subset of marketers and SEOs will want to fight against it.
Around six months ago Google promised to give non-AMP websites the ability to have their results 'cached' in Google so they load faster, just like AMP results do today.
It was only announced after some very public backlash and they've been incredibly quiet on that front ever since. I wouldn't be surprised if non-AMP benefits never see the light of day.
Though we can generally reverse-engineer websites at scale to get an idea of what Google look for when ranking sites, I think that will slowly but surely become harder to do.
The recent Medic update was a great example of that: Some absolutely amazing websites, both technically and in terms of brand, were 'punished' on a huge scale.
Things could roll back of course, but it is always harder to advise on things when incredible sites are seeing their rankings and traffic drop.
Finally, I think Google will push more traffic to the top sites and make it harder for other sites in a space to get in on the game. Just like Wikipedia was pretty much always the first result for something, I think we'll see similar niche domination from a smaller number of sites.
If Google want more people to start buying Google Ads, that's certainly one way to help make it happen and still have people be "happy enough" with their search results.
I could be completely wrong of course, but they are just predictions ;-)."
"Many of my predictions for SEO in 2019 are centered around a single theme, which is making your content better. That’s very broad I know, but there are forces causing website owners to have to re-think how high-quality their content needs to be in order to rank well in search.
For example voice search is becoming more and more popular, as are semantic search factors. Couple with that the fact that these new platforms (i.e. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and even rich snippets in traditional Google SERPs) are giving your content to searchers without them ever visiting your site.
For example when you search for a question in Google these days, you sometimes get a rich snippet that answers that question fully. This causes users to not even have to visit your site because they just got the answer from a Google search results page.
Same thing for Alexa or other voice activated assistants. They are taking the content you produced and providing it to the searcher without them having to visit a website to get it.
This means site owners will have to produce longer, more detailed, and more authoritative content around a specific topic. Google is not going to take up an entire page of search results to show all the details of how to file a personal injury claim with an attorney so that gives site owners the opportunity to be the subject matter expert.
That also means content will need to be more engaging, more thoughtful, and more helpful so that users have a reason to click through and read more. Or visit the site once they are on a mobile device or in front of their desktop."
"2019 marks Google’s AMP last, albeit slim, chance to gain a firm foothold and eventually industry-wide acceptance. From both users, but more so from a developer perspective, it does not look good for AMP though. With the exception of the promise for a prominent carousel placement in SERPs, AMP has time and again proved to be merely equal to or inferior in comparison to just well-optimized mobile websites. Which is the main reason why its adaption was met with skepticism first, then resistance. The issue of content ownership seems to pose in this regard a huge roadblock. All signs seem to indicate that the online industry is likely to embrace PWA with its many benefits and supreme application of modern web technology instead.
In either case site performance and how to boost it will be one of the dominating 2019 SEO topics. Which will go hand-in-hand with mobile-first, as Google continues to transition more and more sites to the index. There will be local, language differences for sure since some language markets offer limited content occasionally based on long-outdated technologies. In short, they are behind in their development. This however will not apply to the main, English Index. Wide mobile-first adoption for English-language sites is a virtual certainty.
Similar to previous years, in 2019 there will be still a lot of talking about Voice Search, not limited to just Google since major market players like Amazon and Apple have put their bets on that limping horse. It is still unlikely to become the watershed year for voice anything, at least from a global perspective. Voice recognition in languages other than English lag behind, consequently holding back user adoption beyond the American, British, and a few other English-speaking consumer markets. 2019 will not be a breakthrough year for voice search."
"Natural language processing and product support are going to be big predictors on SEO success. Having traffic with various forms of keywords, anchor text, and advertisements showcase that you are a real company and doing business.
Thinking outside of "SEO" makes this part simple. You stop analyzing the "links." You start looking at real business moves and focus on getting links when you make those moves."
"My prediction is that in 2019 and going forward, we're going to see Google's machine learning algorithms mature further. Google will be able to more successfully interpret the ‘quality’ of content. Whereas before SEOs were able to rely on other factors, now content may finally start to become king (said with tongue in cheek)."
"I really think user experience and content will keep becoming more and more important. The better we can do with this now, the more prepared we will be for any upcoming changes."
"I think all of the recent edicts from Google – everything from move to https to the need for mobile first design/thinking – are going to be absolute necessities rather than "oh hey, we should probably think about doing this". The sites that are slow to implement, or implement poorly, are going to see serious losses compared to sites who adopted/adapted promptly and executed exceptionally."
"SEO will continue to evolve, we will see a continued growth in the percentage of mobile over desktop users and will have to adjust.
As far as the SEO itself, build links, add great content, do on-page = Rank."
"More use of Structured Data and encouragement by Google."
1. "We will continue to see a decline in search as mobile and social are on the rise.
2. SEO will still be a major focus for big brands, but outsourced SEO prices will continue to rise.
3. More businesses and brands will focus their efforts and advertising dollars on mobile search rankings, social media, display and voice search."
2. Big brands will gain more awareness of the technical SEO they have been ignoring in the past as it is one of the key factors to winning in SEO right now.
"My top predictions for 2019, are that more businesses will shy away from SEO and focus more on their social media efforts, and targeting their audiences on mobile devices. SEO is still going to play a big role, but it will also be more competitive than ever before. This will make it more rewarding for those who can rank, but also more costly and time-consuming in the process. I would also keep an eye on Google and potential regulations in years to come. What they are doing in the political space might draw some attention and start getting people to look in other areas of the search results as well (in reference to what Google might be controlling)."
"I think Google is starting to truly understand quality information and will reward those who provide the most value to the user."
"Voice search will continue to evolve – which will be interesting for SEOs! It's predicted that 50% of searches will be voice search. User experience will continue to be important. Google favors those sites who have great UX and keep visitors engaged. User intent will also continue to evolve. We've been moving towards a focus of 'user intent' for quite some time now and I think it will only become more important."
"Google Voice is the next big thing, and everyone should start optimizing their blog/website for Google Voice. Here is a pro tip: use Google Voice and use your keywords and see the reply from Google Voice. Now start optimizing your content accordingly."
"In 2019, SEO is still going to play a big role in how sites get quality traffic, but there will also be continuing changes and movements with how social media and mobile indexing play into this. Even with all of the movements in place, the basics of SEO are still going to apply. Create the best content possible and put in the time and effort to gain high-quality backlinks."
"Publishers who plan to succeed over the longer term will likely do well viewing social media or platforms like AMP as nice-to-have extras for teasers to get a bit of distribution, but will ultimately place greater weight on improving their own sites and making their core sites more differentiated from the rest of the web. Anything that allows a search engine or other attention merchant platforms to re-represent your work without giving you credit or traffic is a poor investment in the long run. Avoid microformats and don't commoditize yourself by cutting yourself out of the value chain to subsidize a monopoly which will discard you whenever they feel it is convenient."
"Video will dominate the search results; Google will provide more "answers" and consume more page space; local packs in search results will become even more common; PPC prices will increase significantly; and Amazon and Google will partner."
"Voice search is a snowball that started rolling a couple of years ago, it now has a size where it's impossible to avoid and takes a lot of things along its way. My native language is Danish and although we are only 6 million people, voice search works perfectly."
"More focus on topic related links."
"Content, links, etc. are still among the top strategies for 2019, however, keyword research and use of keywords can change. This is all because of the rise of voice search. In 2018 voice search slowly rose because of Alexa and Siri. This necessitates SEO experts to primarily focus on long-tail keywords and phrases, and the competition for Rank Zero or featured snippet is more intense than ever for voice search."
"Google will be much more sensitive to user intent than ever before using Rank Brain. By priming content toward the right audience, you can expect Google to reward the page and its rankings."
"PBNs die, AI dominates, guest posts done well, will always do well. ie: Relevant, value packaged guest posts."
"Structured Data and Page Speed will have more and more influence on the rating of a website."